View Single Post

Thread: How to -- 4th century BCE setting

  1. - Top - End - #33
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Bristol, UK

    Default Re: How to -- 4th century BCE setting

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    BTW, I am seriously interested in the mentions made here of bronze being an important material in armor and weapons about a thousand years into the Iron Age.
    Of course it was; the notion bronze is "inferior" to low-grade iron is a gamer myth. Well-worked bronze is as good as low-grade iron but is about 10% heavier. That's it. And it's easier to make large plates with, not to mention being a superior material for ship's rams.

    Iron is cheap and plentiful, that's the advantage it has. Because to make bronze you need tin, which is rare (and thus expensive).

    Furthermore, you don't throw away perfectly serviceable armour just because new, cheap iron armour is around. The "hand me down" effect with panoplies shouldn't be underestimated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I'm pushing that one back to that very earliest date, because I like the idea of writing the contrast / transition between chariots and mounted fighters.
    That happened long before the Hellenistic era; by 300BC the chariot was basically irrelevant in warfare. Chariots-as-cavalry are a bronze age thing, primarily, not iron age. By the iron age where they exist at all (Britain, limited parts of what is now Austria and northern Italy, selected areas of Romania) they're "battle taxis" that carry a noble to the fight, where he can dismount, fight and re-mount to get out again.

    By the Hellenistic era, horses are more than big enough to carry a man in armour. Even if they were, for the most part, smaller than the horses of the medieval era.

    Quote Originally Posted by RossN View Post
    I think people might be underestimating how much cavalry was in use in the 4th century BC even beyond the nomads. The Persians of course had a very extensive horse cavalry arm and the Thessalians were also famous for their horse. Then you have the Macedonians...

    True even the heaviest of cavalry wouldn't be hurled face on at a phalanx but they were certainly being used for heavier duties than simply skirmishing.
    Precisely, heavy cavalry was all over the place in the Hellenistic era, you don't need the stirrup to charge home, all it provides is side-to-side stability that is useful (but not essential) for archery and standing melee. The Nisaean horse was a famous, large, eastern breed (now extinct) that overtopped western horses according to the literature of the period.

    Frontal charges into formed infantry were not a thing; they charged into the rear of an engaged formation, or drove off lighter cavalry. Hammer and anvil; pin the infantry down at the front with your infantry, charge your cavalry into their rear/flanks. While the Thessalians and Makedonian Companions were famed in the west, it's the east where all the real heavies were. The Persians had many Iranian peoples to draw upon here, not to mention the heavy cavalry fielded by the nobles of the steppe.
    Last edited by Kiero; 2016-08-18 at 04:51 AM.
    Wushu Open Reloaded
    Actual Play: The Shadow of the Sun (Acrozatarim's WFRP campaign) as Pawel Hals and Mass: the Effecting - Transcendence as Russell Ortiz.
    Now running: Tyche's Favourites, a historical ACKS campaign set around Massalia 300BC.
    In Sanity We Trust Productions - our podcasting site where you can hear our dulcet tones, updated almost every week.